Youth Outreach has new lookLast year at this time, Red Wing Youth Outreach had a website that functioned, but didn’t really do much beyond that.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
Last year at this time, Red Wing Youth Outreach had a website that functioned, but didn’t really do much beyond that.
“It was better than homemade, but not much,” said Nancy Gillmer, president of the Youth Outreach board.
“It was very text heavy. It was pretty basic,” added Jake Gibbs, PR specialist with Confluence Marketing. “It needed to be updated.”
Luckily, Youth Outreach, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring and support for young adults facing challenges, was the winner of a contest put on by Confluence Marketing. The prize? A completely revamped website.
The idea for the contest came just before Christmas 2011, when the marketing firm was deciding how to celebrate the season.
“We struggle with it every year, what we do for the holidays,” Confluence president Tim McKim said.
Donating to a non-profit seemed like a better solution than the holiday standby of giving clients fruit baskets.
But the marketing firm didn’t want to simply write a check. Instead, Confluence employees were inspired by Red Wing’s history of citizens donating time, talent and knowledge in addition to money.
“It’s part of our culture here,” McKim said.
The goal is that by offering services, Confluence’s donation can have a bigger impact than simply giving money would, McKim said.
“It offers something … that just donating money can’t,” echoed Gibbs.
Confluence’s clients were notified of the contest in their 2012 Christmas cards.
“They asked us to submit a non-profit that could use a website update,” said Stephanie Riegelman, senior executive administrator at Red Wing Shoe Co.
Riegelman said a friend of hers works at Youth Outreach and had told her how much the non-profit’s website needed to be updated.
“I thought that would be the perfect opportunity to help a local non-profit,” Riegelman said.
Youth Outreach was selected in a random drawing that took place at the beginning of 2012. When the non-profit’s staff found out that Youth Outreach would be getting a new website, Gillmer said they were “incredibly excited and relieved.”
She added that the non-profit’s board of directors had wanted to update their site for some time, but a lack of funding for the project had gotten in the way.
Beginning in July, a handful of Confluence employees were tasked with creating the site. Over a series of meetings with Youth Outreach, the design team came up with several ideas for the final product.
“It’s a hip organization,” said Gibbs. “You want to show that kids with a little nudge can be great.”
They also wanted the website to generate more donations. Previously, people were able to donate on Youth Outreach’s site, but the feature was sort of hidden. That was something Gibbs said needed to be brought to the forefront.
“Basically the ultimate goal of the site is to generate support, to speak to supporters,” he said.
The new website launched in mid-December. It now features bright colors, photos and stories of young adults who have been helped by Youth Outreach.
“The biggest thing is a much stronger emotional connection,” said McKim, adding that the website now speaks directly to donors.
In all, Confluence donated about 100 hours of work to the project, McKim said. That’s slightly more than they might have spent on other projects of a similar scale.
“It was a passion project,” Gibbs said. “We liked doing it, which just kind of added to it.”
Because the new site has only been up for a few weeks, Gillmer said they don’t know yet if it’s generating more traffic or donations. But she said the non-profit is thrilled with the outcome and excited for their new site.
“Having this gift given to us, it made us feel blessed,” she said.